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Progress notes on Dad's trophy bluegill pond.

I don't know if it's the barley straw or the aeration system--or likely both--but right now the pond has secchi readings of over 3 meters. This is unheard of on any of the ponds on my farm. I have some Earthtec ready and available for the beginnings of an algae bloom, but maybe I won't have to use it for awhile. The fish are all basically still tiny. Way too little to provide a fishing experience. Maybe we're close to two years away from having a good fishery.

249 bluegill that are 3-4 inches.
35 slightly bigger age-2 bluegill
125 yellow perch that are also quite small. Maybe 5-8 inches.
4 steelheads just for the fun of it. They'll probably last another week or so until we harvest them out.

The feedings are very enthusiastic at least. :-)

I used the Earthtec (buffered copper sulfate) on the sediment/nutrient pond yesterday and I'll check it tomorrow to see if there was an effect. The secchi readings were .4 meter yesterday.

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Comment by Bruce Condello on April 17, 2009 at 1:08pm
My estimation of fish at this point as follows

Age-3 BG, 65 fish
Age-2 BG, 200 fish
Age-1 BG, anybody's guess. I actually stocked 80 that were between 4.5-6 inches
Age-2 RES, 65 fish?
Steelhead, 9 bonus fish, won't last long.
BG X RES...gone
Smallies....gone

Population of fish in main pond (1.25 acre).
Bluegill, reproducing population, 1,000 adults ranging from 6-12 inches
HSB, 10 fish in the 24-27 inch range
HSB, 100 fish in the 5-8 inch range
RES, hundreds from 7-11 inches
SMB, 50 fish from 10-17 inches
Steelies, 150 fish from 10-15 inches
Comment by Bruce Condello on April 17, 2009 at 12:56pm
All winter long the water clarity has been mysteriously low. When the ice cleared in mid-February the secchi readings were only 10 inches. A test sent this winter to Big Bluegill member Bill Cody showed a diatom bloom of 700K/mL, which is insanely high.

Here are the numbers of dead fish noted and disposed of during the winter.

SMB 5 fish
BG 4 age-3's, 12 age-2's, 50 age-1's (ages as of 2009)
BG X RES 3 fish
RES 1 fish
HSB 1 fish that was 6 inches

Now it is mid-April and the bloom is still prevalent. Readings have painfully reached upwards to 14 inches. No silt in the water due to a significant lack of rainfall. I've applied FlocBlocks, and two full doses of copper sulfate with no evident effect on the diatom bloom.

I've been unable to catch even a single bluegill. I was sure two nights ago that I'd get one to bite, but the water temps were still only 49 F. My guess is that today they are going to get up to maybe 52 or 53 F., so my Dad and I are going to fish for a half hour or so. I'll give a report later.

Aerator was turned on full as of 04-11-09.
Comment by Bruce Condello on November 5, 2008 at 10:22pm
...by the way, the water clarity was 27 inches tonight. Really nice!
Comment by Bruce Condello on November 5, 2008 at 10:21pm
Thanks for the comment, F-H.

I think it's especially interesting that my Dad's pond's water quality is improving given the tremendous amount of feed I've distributed to the fish.

It's obvious that the high quality aeration system and the barley straw are really helping. Last year the water was completely ruined by this time of year. It was awful. It smelled like silage.
Comment by Farm Hunter on November 5, 2008 at 9:01pm
Great series of posts Bruce -

I've been following it, as it has relavance to the pond I'mtrying to develop. The increasing water clarity is indeed interesting, and encouraging. Great that your Dad has pond to enjoy of the quality you describe.

FH
Comment by Bruce Condello on October 31, 2008 at 6:10pm
About a week ago we experienced the second biggest rain event in the decade that we've owned our farm. 4.5 inches over about 36 hours inundated all of the ponds. Water was charging out of the main pond at 500 gpm. It was surreal.

Amazingly, my Dad's pond's visibility only dropped to 10 inches. I was very pleased that the silt inflow has been managed effectively enough to limit the amount of turbidity during such a rain event.

Now, just a little over a week later my Dad's pond's visibility is the highest it's been in months. 27.5 inches of beautiful jade-green water. I'm quite happy with that. Air temps today were in the low 70's and the fish were taking pellets readily. They put on a really impressive show.

I plan to get my Dad out there every night next week if possible to try to catch out a yellow perch or two for a nice fish fry.
Comment by Bruce Condello on October 5, 2008 at 9:04pm
After a nice stretch of 70-80 degree days the water temperature has warmed back to nearly 63 degrees today. Clarity readings sat firm at 22 inches and the fish were eating agressively. I didn't fish, but I did note that the fish were smackin' the pellets pretty good. The shoreline was thick with 1-2 inch YOY bluegill.

All is well.

Once again I noted what appeared to be pretty good numbers of 7-8 inch shellcrackers whackin' the pellets, too.

There's been a great blue heron hanging out around the pond. I could see his tracks near the feeder. The security system has provided me with an image or two of the GBH in all his glory. I'm assuming he'll move on here in the next couple weeks with the bad weather coming. I wonder where they go...
Comment by Bruce Condello on September 28, 2008 at 7:35am
Secchi readings have dropped back to 19 inches, apparently because of the decreased water flow. I've turned the mini-waterfall off, so the gpm delievery has been decreased by about 40 percent. The water still looks really healthy, and the fish are eating like crazy. Dad's been getting bluegill regularly that exceed 7 inches and he even got a couple of little snail eaters.

Nice redear sunfish if you ask me.

He also caught a 12.5 inch bluegill control device.

Comment by Bruce Condello on September 26, 2008 at 5:14am
Secchi readings are back up to 22 inches now that the silt from the last rain has cleared. Fish are still feeding rather agressively. Some really good hits throughout the evening. Dad and I are going to fish it here in the next few days a couple of times. Yellow perch are so tasty!
Comment by Bruce Condello on September 13, 2008 at 9:31pm
We just came off of an amazingly heavy rain event for September. 3.25 inches in about twenty hours has inundated my Dad's pond. One fish was found dead, maybe from the sudden temperature change. There was a reasonably good feeding that took place when I got there this morning. Secchi readings have dropped to 18 inches, which I thought was exceptionally good considering how much water and silt ran down this waterway.

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